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 What is a man? What is a woman? 
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I know that at the end of the class we started talking about Thomas Beatie and "his" pregnancy with "his" wife. I use quotation marks here, because I think an interesting question is posed when you discuss this situation. Although legally a "man", what does that mean? Yes, "he" has facial hair and does not have the breasts that "he" had when "he" was a woman, but "he" kept his ovaries and uterus in order to have the ability to have a child. What does this make "him"? Is he a man? or a woman? What determines that? What do you base your definition on? Also, I have been learning in my sociology class between gender and sex. We often use the two terms interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing? Because Thomas Beatie's sex is a woman is he? Is he a man because his gender is male? These questions are very interesting and bring about a lot of social controversy as well.

Also, like Erin asked, what would you do about Susan? As Lloyd pointed out, it wouldn't really be her that would be the trouble, but the other children, and probably other parents as well. As a teacher, you might have other parents who aren't comfortable with the situation or Susan being in the same class as their child, or Thomas accompanying field trips or being involved in the classroom. How would you guys handle this?

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Anna F. Gay


Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:27 pm
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Although I feel strongly that this was wrong, I'm not as interested in deciding which sex Thomas Beatie identifies with as I am the question what about Susan? Because of all of the media attention she is going to know long before school that there is something different or even special about her. I don't think she'll go to kindergarten and it will be like the light bulb goes on that father's don't usually give birth. I think Susan will require some sort of counseling for the majority of her life, and the rest of the family might consider it as well. I think as Susan's teacher the very best thing to do would be to treat her like all of the other students in your class, it's when we treat people differently that the differences are widely noticed.

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Mandi McGaha


Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:59 pm
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I would think Mr. Beatie would be a man, if that is the gender he identifies with the most. The lack or presence of breasts, uterus, overies, eggs, sperm or any other reproductive parts/abilities does not define gender in my opinion. I believe it is the gender you identify with the most that indicates whether a person is male or female. Thomas Beatie obviously identifies the most with being male, so I would think that he is male even though he decided he wanted to have a child.

As with Mandi, I worry the most about Susan. Children in school can be harsh, and I think as future teachers we should consider how would we handle a situation where the child could be susceptible to criticism and ridicule by her peers. I think as far as teacher to student relationships go, Susan should be treated like all of the other students in the classroom. Her parentage does not give an excuse for treating her differently, the same goes for any child who comes from a "different" background or who possesses an individual difference.

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Jennifer Nicole Redmond


Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:24 pm
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I agree with Jennifer with the point it is the gender that one associates most with that determines what gender that person is. I have no problem with what he has done (I say he because this is what he is) because it was his choice. Keeping his ovaries and uterus was also his choice. If he wants to have kids then by all means go ahead. I am happy that they were able to bring life into the world.

As far as the question about what we would do with Susan if she were in our class... all I can say is: TEACH HER. That is our job. We are teachers... educators... so we must do our job and teach her. A child cannot choose his/her parents, so that should have no impact on how we treat our students.

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Kelly York


Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:09 pm
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Well said Kelly!!! As teachers our concern is our students education and well-being. As long as the child has loving caring parents that provide for their child to the best of their ability there should be no reason to intervene in their home life.

As far as the question to what to consider Mr. Beatie, I think we need to respect his wishes and consider him a man. I am sure he has had to go through many years of heartache and pain to come to this point in his life. If he has gone through all the proper legal red tape to be consider a man legally then who are we to say any different. I feel it is more of an issue of respect and understanding for this couple and their children.


Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:33 pm
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Man or woman? I say very much a man. If he made a very conscious decision to CHANGE genders then he is considered a man. I would like to say I define the gender by their procreating habits (having a penis for intercourse or having a uterus to receive the penis). With that said here is a quote I found here: http://www.celebitchy.com/category/thomas_beatie/

“It does [referring to "his" clitoris]. It looks like a penis. A small penis."
He also said “I can have intercourse with my wife.â€

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~Natalie Wolfe


Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:16 pm
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I just needed a bit of clarification Natalie. Are you saying that he is a man because his clitoris looks like a penis? Or were you saying he was a woman that identifies with a male. I was confused. You defined gender as " their procreating habits (having a penis for intercourse or having a uterus to receive the penis)." Thomas Beatie does not have a penis...so what does that mean?

Also, I do agree with you about the fact the ability to bear children doesn't make you less of a woman. I also agree that I am offended that the right to bear children has been taken as less sacred and made to be had by all...even those who are transgendered. I agree about adoption as well!

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Anna F. Gay


Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:07 am
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The quote says he does have a penis. He is able to have intercourse with his wife. As a fetus, hormones change the clitoris into a penis...it not look like a "normal" penis, but he has sex with his wife like a male does.

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~Natalie Wolfe


Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:48 am
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But it is not actually a penis. It is a clitoris that is enlarged by hormones. His doctor will attest to that. In fact, "he" still goes to the gynecologist and has pelvic exams, even as a man... What about that? Also, his wife will attest that sex is very different because although his clitoris is enlarged, it is not a penis and is very different.

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Anna F. Gay


Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:06 am
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Good point. I do still stand by he is a he since he is TRANS (change) gender. He wants to be everything that a man is except be able to bear children. I feel he wants his cake and wants to eat it to.

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~Natalie Wolfe


Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:36 am
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And, I learned that the penis is just an enlarged clitoris any ways. As a fetus the hormones change the clitoris into a penis...I might have already said this. sorry if I did.

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~Natalie Wolfe


Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:38 am
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Here is a link to the Discovery Channel where Thomas Beatie answers questions sent in by the public:

http://health.discovery.com/tv/pregnant ... an-qa.html

Here are two links to the Barbara Walters interview with Thomas Beatie:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Story?id=6244878&page=1

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=6221360

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Erin Painter


Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:20 am
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Yes he has made history and received criticisms from both sides of the issue, but I do not believe that he can/should be called a man or a woman. I believe that if someone does choose to change their sex, then they should also 'act' or play out their particular sex of choice. However, it is their choice. This is a very touchy subject. I really do feel for their child though, because children will talk and will make fun. I hope they can deal with this.

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Casey Davis


Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:47 pm
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i am not sure how i feel about this issue, but i think that he is still a woman. And i am perplexed as to why if "he" wanted to keep his uterus to bare children why did "he" not stay a woman? The ability to have children is a "woman" thing but it does not solely define a woman. As Dr. Turner pointed out many woman have issues and cannot have children, but women do have a uterus. It is the female organ just like males have a penis. So by keeping his uterus i believe that he is still a woman. I agree with Casey that if he solely decided to become a man then no babies. Men cannot have children and so if "he" wants to be a man then you should play the part.

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Kristen P. Helton


Sat Nov 29, 2008 1:28 pm
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I should maybe have started another thread, but maybe this belongs here, since you all brought up adoption. As a woman who has explored adoption, I can tell you for a fact that adoption is not the simple, morally clear option some think it is.

For example, when you go through an adoption agency, the price of domestic adoption of a white child is $40,000, give or take a few thousand. Mixed race children cost a little less, and very dark children cost around $15,000. Sick? I think so. Private adoptions can be more or less expensive, and often fall through, with huge amounts of money changing hands even if no child is ultimately adopted. Adoption from China is equally expensive.

Adoption through foster care? I wish more people would do it, but not everyone is willing to adopt a child who has been abused for much of his or her life, who perhaps is incapable of forming a normal parent-child attachment, and who can be expected to be behind in school, with perhaps other developmental delays.

I thought a reality check might be in order.

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Gayle Turner


Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:02 pm
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That is horrible that children of different races cost different amounts of money. I feel like it is a new kind of slavery or human market exchange. Here about this makes me think of the black market and how organs from different races cost differing amounts of money. I am in shock to learn this, Dr. Turner.

In response to another comment: I believe a woman is a woman is a woman. I don't care if she has a kid, adopts a kid, or none of the above. I think if a woman doesn't want to have a child than she is no less of a woman. Being a mother has always been associated with being a woman, but I am considering what a mother is. Is she the person who loves you, holds you when you’re sick, makes dinner, brushes your hair, helps you pick out your clothes, cleans the house, and feeds you before you can eat solid food, what is it?
My Dad has taken care of me in these ways, so does that make him a mom? Is the only defining factor of a mom who gives birth to you, or is it their gender, or is it the stereotypical roles we associate with gender in our society?

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Lianna Denise Beard


Wed Dec 03, 2008 2:09 pm
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Profiting from human trafficking seems appropriate to me. Why should one life be considered more valuable or more likely just considered more desirable than another. Lianna I am glad to hear you praise your Dad. As far as fatherhood goes you usually don't hear a lot of response unless it's a case of neglect. A loving and protecting adult that can provide shelter, food and informed guidance to a child is more important that how the child came to be in the home and whether the "parent" meets the "normal" gender definition.

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Thomas Lloyd Walker


Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:43 pm
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